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Pac-10 shares its pain

8/6/2010

Wow. You guys may need therapy.

And now I might, too. I read every one of your more than 300 notes on your own, personal House of Pain. Two words: Ouch & Sorry.

The highs of fandom are great. Ah, but those lows.

You guys got thrown out of bars, your parents stopped speaking to you, you banged your head against the wall and you collectively have shaken your fist at the heavens at various times when the football gods frowned upon you.

These are your stories.

Jeff Albright in Portland, Wash., writes: We traveled thousands of miles to watch Oregon State play LSU, the defending national champs. Tailgating at an SEC school was great. Our special teams were not. LSU won by a point. In overtime. After we missed 3 extra points. There wasn't enough bourbon in Louisiana to erase that memory

Barzin Pourfarrokh in San Francisco writes: In 2007, the Oregon Ducks were ranked #2 in the nation and were led by Heisman front runner Dennis Dixon. They had already overtaken their top Pac-10 competition that year, handily defeating USC and Arizona State. The Ducks had a straight and easy path to their first BCS national title game and Heisman trophy winner when it happened. On a nationally broadcast game on ESPN, Ducks star Dennis Dixon tore his ACL against the Arizona Wildcats. The Ducks went on to blow their lead, lose the game, and ultimately fell apart under their 4th and 5th string quarterbacks.

Michael Lourenco in Gilbert, Ariz., writes: Arizona State losing to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl in 1996. By far and away, ASU's best chance to win a National Title was well within grasp in the 4th quarter. The roller coaster of emotions from anxiety to sheer joy to utter despair were all experienced in mere minutes. When Plummer scored, I jumped out of my seat and at that moment finalized the decision to go to ASU for my college career. By the time Boston scored to give OSU the lead, I was speechless until my dad asked if I still planned to go to ASU. Mike- Sun Devil Class of 2001.

Tim in Tucson, Ariz., writes: 2009 Oregon vs Arizona game: What I personally consider to be the best college football game I have ever seen live (even better than 06 UA v Cal, and 07 UA v Oregon), it was painful to watch as numerous other students poured onto the field to celebrate our 'victory'. Problem was, these kids didn't know about Oregon's high powered offense and what turned into a double OT thriller left my buddies and I heartbroken. The closest we have ever been to the Rose Bowl got taken away with one QB sneak by Masoli to the north Endzone. Next came the Holiday Bowl and I still don't think my Cats have shown up for that yet.

Kyle Waldron in Ferndale, Wash., writes: It was the 2008 season when my UW Huskies were playing at the WSU Cougars. They were winless going into that game and WSU only had one win on the year over Portland State of the FCS. They played well and were tied 13-13 and the UW kicker comes up with a chance to win the ball game. He misses a chip shot and it goes into overtime where we get the ball and he comes out and misses another chip shot and the WSU kicker makes his kick to send us to a winless season

Mike in Portland, writes: Well as a fan of the Oregon State Beavers, where do I start?? I could pick the 2008 65-38 beatdown at the hands of Oregon, when all the Beavs had to do was win to go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1964 when my dad was only a kid. Or last year when the Ducks again kept OSU out of the Rose Bowl. But that would be too easy and give too much respect to the Ducks, so how about almost every game between 1971 and 1998? 28 straight losing seasons. One of my first games was at Parker Stadium vs. lowly UNLV in 1990 when I was 10 years old. We left at halftime with the Beavers down like 45-3. And yes, it was raining.

Bob Perez, Santa Barbara, Calif., writes: UCLA's loss to Miami in 1998 in a game that was postponed from early in the year due to a hurricane, before the Bruin defense had completely imploded. Cade McNown threw for over 500 yards and were driving for a score to put the game away when refs said Brad Melsby fumbled though replay showed his knee clearly down. The Hurricanes went on to drive for the winning score, costing the Bruins a spot in the first BCS title game. That was the last year UCLA won the Pac-10.

Jason Wang in San Jose writes: I was working in the concession stands the night Kevin Riley decided to try to go Vince Young and scramble into the end zone on the last play against Oregon State in 2007. It was so painful to be #1 in the nation for literally 2 hours for a game to end like that, I just tried to sell my 100 leftover hotdogs outside of Top Dog for 1 dollar each after the game to fund for my keg that night.

Zach Pullins in Watertown, N.Y., writes: The USC loss to UCLA back in 06' was awful. I was stuck on a submarine during a deployment in the Gulf and couldn't avoid the humiliation from all the Trojan haters. I just KNEW we were playing in the BCS championship game despite an early that early loss to Ore St. Never got over that one.

Jack Parrish in Montgomery, Ala., writes: The agonizing, excruciating pain suffered by us USC fans at the bloody red hands of Texas in 2005. The harrowing experience chilled my bones to their very marrow. To see Vince Young take away everything we had worked so hard for that year on one play boiled my blood. I threw the remote at the wall and screamed in bloody anguish at the world. That loss was/is a painful experience for me which rips my soul from my body.

Bret Manley in Washington, D.C., writes: Hey Ted,23-17 2004 loss at USC. Our only conference loss, cost us Pac-10 championship, cost us Rose Bowl birth (thank you Mac Brown), led to throttling by Texas Tech. What makes it the most painful was the final drive, where Rodgers started the game 26-26 and ended by finding a WIDE OPEN Geoff MacArthur in the back of U$C's end zone only to have the ball sail right between his arms to end the game. I was so mad I grabbed an ax out of the closet, ran outside, and chopped down a tree.

Jared Engeset in Washington, D.C., writes: Mine is two sided as I'm a Husky and my dad is a Cougar, but the 2002 Apple Cup in which the Huskies won in triple overtime has to be one of the most painful outcomes ever. I was at the game and I called my dad at halftime. We had a great conversation about how the Cougars were up but in all honesty they should be up by quite a lot more. After the Huskies tied the game and we waited for overtime, I called again this time to the voice of my mom answering the phone. I'll never forget what she said, "He doesn't want to talk to you." Click. At that moment I wondered if I would be allowed to come home for Thanksgiving dinner, but after we sealed the victory in the third overtime it didn't matter. We rushed the field in what turned out to be a battle field of flying liquor bottles from destroyed Cougar fans. My final memory was walking back to my friend's house, who happened to be a cougar, and hearing random outbursts of anger from Greek Row. We arrived at a deathly quiet house, hugged our Cougar friends because no amount of trash talk could do any harm. They were already destroyed beyond repair?

Greg Barry in Columbia, S.C., writes: After returning from military service in Iraq in December of 2009 my wife and I eagerly made our way from South Carolina to San Diego to meet my Father and Sister (also a Wildcat Alum) at the Holiday Bowl. I only saw one televised game while deployed, but it was a thrilling overtime loss to Oregon that indicated we had a good team and a great offense. I was informed by my family that we were to face a reportedly staunch Nebraska defense, and an offense that was statistically terrible. What happened over the next several hours can only be described as the worst football I've ever witnessed in person. To add insult to injury, my family was rained on for nearly two quarters of play, and was forced to walk to a cab in a throng of Nebraska fans following the beatdown. The agony of months of football deprivation followed by having your team smashed before your eyes can't be expressed in words. To make matters worse I secretly suspect that my wife, a Texas Alum, was secretly wishing that we wouldn't be able to beat Nebraska for no other reason than their Big-12 affiliation.

Mark DeVaughn in Sacramento, Calif., writes: Sept. 10, 1988 Stanford Stadium USC at Stanford Not since 1970 had Stanford won at home against USC. Stanford was right on the doorstep of knocking off the defending Pac-10 champs, leading 20-17. Five minutes remained. The Cardinal had 1st-and-goal at the 2. Oh my God, I thought. We're going to beat USC.No dice. The Cardinal got conservative, with quarterback (and future San Francisco Giants catcher) Brian Johnson having been knocked out of the game plays earlier with a concussion. John Hopkins missed a 22-yard field goal. Queue the heroics of Rodney Peete, who drove SC 80 yards in two minutes for the winning touchdown to ruin everything.Stanford went 3-6-2 that year. USC went to the Rose Bowl again.

Nat Mucha in Dallas writes: UW @ Oregon 1994My sophomore year at UW, several of us traveled down to Eugene to party with our Fraternity's UO Chapter and go to the game. While this was the probation years, we had already already ended Miami's home winning streak and were a solid bet to continue our dominance over Oregon. So while sitting in the middle of the UO student section in Autzen surrounded by 15 UW Pikes as well as 50+ UO Pikes (the only reason I am alive to tell) After talking smack for most of the game, we witnessed the interception that helped Oregon get to the Rose Bowl a few months later. Needless to say we got out of there quickly for our own protection. To add to the pain, one of my customers has a picture of the interception hanging in his office. I make sure to always sit with my back to it.

Kurt in Keizer, Ore., writes: Civil War 2008. Beavers need to win at home in order to go to their first Rose Bowl in over 40 years. The Ducks dominate the game, never quite getting a lead that seemed insurmountable until the final moments, but always being just out of reach. The 65 points scored set a Civil War record, and the game was almost as annoying as the 18 months of trash talk we've had to endure ever since.

Dennis Dominguez in Los Angeles writes: November 5, 2005. UCLA an 8-0 record that matches cross town rivals USC. For years everyone has been talking about how great USC is and this season seemed to be the time for the Bruins to be on their way to a BCS bowl with their #7 ranking. All that stood in the way between the crosstown match up were two games against the lackluster Arizona schools. UCLA goes into Arizona and gets demolished by the 2-6 Wildcats by the final score of 52-14. Perfect season, ended. Confidence, gone. Dreams, shattered. I still haven't gotten over it.

Andrew Dzeguze in Springfield, Ill., writes: 1929 Rose Bowl, Cal v. Ga. Tech - Cal's outstanding defense kept Georgia Tech's offense to only 6 points. Cal was responsible for 9 points. Unfortunately, 2 of them counted for GT when the otherwise outstanding Roy Riegels first ran a forced fumble 65 yards the wrong way, then botched the snap on a quick kick attempt which was blocked out of the end zone for a safety. Riegels was an All American, a future Cal and Rose Bowl Hall of Famer - but forever tagged "Wrong Way."

Chris Pippin in Bend, Ore., writes: I sat through a driving rainstorm for over 3 hours only to see Stanford go down by 18 points against Washington with less than 6 minutes to play. But it was worth it when the Cardinal recovered 2 onsides kicks and scored 3 touchdowns to pull ahead in the final minute. With the rain coming down in sheets, Marques Tuiasosopo needed only 3 plays and 53 seconds to go 80 yards and beat the Cardinal by three points at the gun. We got in the car and turned on the radio to hear that UW safety Curtis Williams was in the hospital and probably paralyzed after a collision in the 3rd quarter. That put the game in perspective.

Brian Cap in Portland, Ore., writes: Oregon State-LSU. missing one extra point is ONE thing. Missing 3 is down right scratch to the head, going bald, cant sleep, nightmares when you do sleep, don't want to talk to anyone, when you do talk to someone they mention the game depressing.

Scott in Louisville writes: Arizona State hosted LSU in 2005. ASU led 24-14 in the 4th Quarter, and lined up for a field goal to extend the lead, but the kick was blocked and returned for a TD. On ASU's next possession, the Devils had to punt; of course, the punt was blocked and returned for another TD. ASU fought back and scored a TD to take a 31-28 lead into the final minutes. On 4th and 10 from the 40 JaMarcus Russell heaved a desperation throw in the corned of the end zone that was caught by Early Doucet for the winning score.

Isaiah Kirshner-Breen in Berkeley, Calif., writes: Do you know how it feels as a Cal fan to see the Golden Bears ranked 1st in the Nation? I can't tell you how it feels, because it hasn't happened in my lifetime. The closest they got was number 2, midway through the 2007 season. After beating Tennessee and then 11th ranked Oregon, we were poised for a number 1 ranking and our best season since the 1950's. You remember what happened at Oregon State, right? How could you not. Kevin Riley dropping back to pass, not seeing anyone open and electing to run. Only a handful of seconds left and no timeouts. Oregon State won, 31-28. Cal went on to finish 5th in the conference if I remember right. That is the closest we've been to greatness in 60 years. And a 3-3 OSU team took it away.

Phil in Traverse City, Mich., writes: Arizona was in the hunt for the Rose Bowl in '93. They had one loss already to UCLA. They got some help from their arch rival, when ASU knocked off the Bruins. UCLA would finish with two conference losses that year. All Arizona needed to do was win out.On the road at Cal, Arizona had the lead AND the ball. A little swing pass to Terry Vaughn went in and out of his hands, and right to a Cal defender who raced for the go ahead TD. Arizona still had time to rally and was driving late in the game. During their "hurry-up" offense, an Arizona receiver caught a pass and in his haste to line up for the next play, inadvertently knocked down a referee, drawing a 15 yard penalty. Head coach Dick Tomey went ballistic. Arizona's Rose Bowl hopes crashed and burned with a 24-20 heartbreaking loss.

Richard Phillips in Medford, Ore., writes; Oct. 20, 2001, when the Ducks gave up a two-touchdown fourth quarter lead to Stanford, helped by two blocked punts and an interception.The loss knocked Oregon out of the NC game, a stunning disappointment for longtime Duck fans like myself who had endured years of losing and mediocre seasons, only to see our NC dreams dashed.I was on a fishing trip to the Southern Oregon Coast, and watched the game at a bar in the small town of Agness with two fellow Duck fans after a day of fishing. We eventually got thrown out after the game for our temper tantrums and foul mouths. Thank God there were no Stanford fans present or it could really have gotten ugly. Oh well, at least it wasn't the Huskies!

Kenny Abbey Jr., in Florence, Ariz., writes: UCLA at Arizona- 1998. It was Arizona's only loss of 1998. Tied at 28 going in to the 4th when UCLA reeled of 3 straight TD's. UCLA also screwed us again that season, losing in their final game at Miami, knocking us out of the Rose Bowl.2. Arizona at Penn State- 1999. Lost 41-7 as the #4 team in the country on opening day, starting a decade long downward spiral for the program.

Kevin Soon in Portland, Ore., writes: 10/20/2001 Stanford 49, #5 Oregon 42I watched from the Autzen stands as Stanford scored 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to give the Ducks their first home loss in 4 years. What's even worse is that losing that game kept Oregon from playing for the national championship vs. Miami in the Rose Bowl. That one still hurts.

Jeff Bowlin in Tucson, Ariz., writes: By far the hardest one was the Apple Cup in [1992] when Drew Bledsoe and the WSU Cougars ran up like fifty points [42] on the Huskies in a freaking blizzard. Worse the impending sanctions were coming and everyone knew it and it would be the second to last game that Don James would coach for the Huskies.